Thursday, October 5, 2006

Typhoon brings peace and quiet

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, October 05, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Typhoon brings peace and quiet

DID you notice that during the past four electricity-deprived days caused by Milenyo (in Sta. Mesa, we got back our electric power only on Sunday morning) people were more laid back and seemed to speak in low decibel? It was blissful, a rare treat. Luckily for us, there was continuous water supply even if the water was a little murky.

There was total peace and quiet. During the day, you don’t hear the usual simultaneous blare of radios, televisions and music boxes. Even the malls were silent, as in no competing and pestering promotional noise among vendors and the salespersons seemed subdued, despite the many shoppers who couldn’t wait for brighter times. Families were finally facing and talking to each other—no TV, no light to read with, no computer, no Internet, no cell-phone connection—no excuses for avoiding each other. Neighbors were huddled at their gate or fence, not just making conversations, but renewing friendships and sharing stories over the aftermath of a really powerful typhoon and other burning and no-brainer issues. Notwithstanding the heat and the bugs, people slept peacefully and easily adapted to the situation.

At Vasra, Visayas Avenue, they got back their electricity supply as early as day after the typhoon. My friend Gigie was thrilled that her entire family, including her two married children, Jek and Iya, with their spouse and own children who live in blackout areas, were together in her house for four days. She says that her house was like a hotel and they all enjoyed familial intimacy for four days.

Another friend, Bert Tato, had a problem with his grandson, Migs, who was always craving for “food!” Unfortunately, they use electric cooking machines and most fast-food outlets and restaurants were close for a couple of days. They survived using a makeshift coal stove.

These bring back recollections of Taipei. There, they don’t need a blackout to live in peace and quiet. Taipei is never noisy. The shops never play earsplitting music or deafening come-ons. The one week that I was there, I never heard the sound of a car horn. Looking back, even their motorcycles quietly work. You could walk the streets of Taipei and not be jolted by any clatter at all. Everywhere you go, you could carry on a conversation or do some thinking undisturbed. Even the anticorruption rallyists are restrained and disciplined. They wore the color red to express their protest.

In Taipei and other parts of Taiwan, there are no palatial houses or shanties. There is no visible demarcation between the rich and the poor. Everybody lives in medium-rise apartments (we refer to them as condominium here.) The high-rise buildings are for offices. I looked hard, but I did not notice any flashy or expensive cars around. Taiwanese don’t seem to like the exterior of their vehicles gleaming clean.

Taiwan is vulnerable to typhoons and flooding. They are also in the earthquake belt. And, therefore, they have preventative and disaster preparedness measures in place. Life goes without worries.

Taiwan is a preferred workstation of our OFWs. Taipei is only 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Manila; the pay is better than in other countries; and the Taiwanese admire and respect the Filipino talent and work ethics. There are OFWs there doing executive functions; holding managerial positions at all levels of business organizations; sharing their professional, management and technical expertise; as well as working as caregivers and househelps.

Congratulations to the all-Star Cebuana Lhuillier Softball Team who won second in the 2006 7th Asia Taiwan International Slo-Pitch Softball Tournament held in Taipei in September. The team headed by playing team owner Jean Henri Lhuillier, with playing head coach Lan Perez, gave their rivals from countries Japan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Dubai and host country, Taiwan, a tough fight to the finish. Bannering the team are national mainstays Apol Rosales, Jasper Cabrera, Oscar Bradshaw, Fidel Moncera, Mark Rae Ramirez, Manolito Binarao and Anthony Santos.

Moje consults on organization and human resource development and could be reached at

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